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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #601
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Blue skies for Webjet
6 January 2009
The Australian

ONLINE airfare portal Webjet is defying the industry gloom and predicting an increased profit this financial year on the back of a 14 per cent rise in first-half revenue.

The company announced yesterday that preliminary figures for the six months ending December 31 indicated total transactions rose to $180 million compared with $158 million a year ago.

It said that a generally reported downturn in Australian air travel had not prevented the number of first-half transactions rising 19 per cent on a year ago.

It believed this reflected a substantial reduction in airfare ticket prices as airlines reduced ticket prices by cutting fuel surcharges and through pricing aggressively.

``Despite the general gloom, we expect that the profit for the period will show a similar level of increase on last year,'' Website managing director David Clarke said.

Mr Clarke said that early holiday-period January bookings had continued strongly, driven in part by a television media campaign.

Webjet delivered a 134 per cent rise in annual net profit to $9.4 million in 2007-08 but this included a one-off boost from a $2.7 million tax credit.

The company's profit rose 68 per cent without that boost.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #602
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Qantas begins A380 flights to London

Australians have more options for flying the world's largest airliner, the Airbus A380, to Europe after Qantas began flying the aircraft on the `kangaroo route' to London last week.

Executive General Manager, Mr John Borghetti, said the airline would initially operate three A380 superjumbo services each week on the Kangaroo Route.

"Following the delivery of a third aircraft at the end of December, we are now ready to introduce the Qantas A380 to the Singapore and UK markets," he said.

QF31 will operate from Sydney to London via Singapore on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with the return QF32 operating on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, also via Singapore.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines announced it will begin flights of the A380to Paris beginning from June 1.

The daily Singapore-Paris flights will be in addition to SIA's A380 service to London, Tokyo and Sydney.

Singapore Airlines and travel agents said last week that the carrier is cutting more than 200 flights to Europe, Australia, China, and India in response to falling passenger numbers during a global economic slowdown.

The airline said December passenger numbers were down 7.5 per cent year-on-year.

But on Monday it said the A380 Paris service is a response to "growing demand".

The double-decker aircraft will replace the existing 10-times-a-week service by Boeing 777-300ER planes, SIA said.

Superjumbos can carry up to 853 passengers but SIA uses a setup with a maximum of 471 seats. Qantas A380s have 450 seats.

SIA was the first airline in the world to operate the A380.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #603
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Travellers desert Qantas for Jetstar


More passengers are flying on Qantas's low-cost carrier Jetstar, but numbers on the group's other carriers have fallen, according to preliminary figures released by Qantas Airways Ltd on Tuesday.

The group comprises Qantas Domestic, regional operator QantasLink, Jetstar Domestic, Qantas International and Jetstar International.

Qantas said passenger numbers for the group in November 2008 had fallen by 3.8% compared to the prior year.

The group carried 3,170,000 passengers in November 2008 compared to 3,294,000 in November 2007.

Qantas International experienced a fall of 8.4% in passenger numbers carried, to 623,000 in November 2008 from 680,000 in November 2007.

But Jetstar International had a rise of 5.6%, to 146,000 from 138,000.

Passenger numbers on Qantas Domestic fell 7.4% to 1,368,000 from 1,478,000; QantasLink fell 8.3% to 355,000 from 387,000; but Jetstar Domestic lifted 11% to 678,000 from 611,000.

Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) for the group dropped 5.2%, and Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) were down 1.0%, resulting in a revenue seat factor of 78.3%, which was 3.4 percentage points lower than the prior year.

RPKs represent the number of paying passengers carried multiplied by the number of kilometres flown.

ASKs measure the number of seats multiplied by the number of kilometres flown.

Group passenger numbers for the financial year to November 2008 were down 0.7% from the prior year, to 16,397,000 from 16,520,000.

Again, passenger numbers on Jetstar were up whereas numbers on the other carriers in the group were down.

Jetstar International recorded a rise of 24.8%, and Jetstar Domestic rose 11.6%.

Qantas International was down 7.2%, Qantas Domestic fell 5.0%, and QantasLink dropped 0.7%.

RPKs fell 2.3%, but ASKs rose by 0.6%, resulting in a revenue seat factor of 79.6%, which was 2.4 percentage points lower than the prior year.

Total domestic (Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar domestic operations) yield, excluding exchange, for the financial year to November 2008, was 2.2% lower, compared to the same period last year.

Total international (Qantas and Jetstar international operations) yield, excluding exchange, rose 4.9% compared with the same period in the prior year.

Qantas shares were nine cents lower at $2.49 in trading today.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #604
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Sydney-London Airfare War Heats Up


Virgin Atlantic has raised the stakes in the Sydney-to-London airfare war, reducing prices to just $1892 return including taxes.

The news of the cheap flights came less than 24-hours after SpiceNews reported on Thursday (Jan 22) the best value deals on offer to London on a selection of the world’s leading airlines. In the report, Thai Airways was the cheapest at $1810, with Virgin Atlantic offering tickets on the same leg for $2045.

However the UK carrier promised it would offer some of its cheapest ever airfares to London in 2009 as part of its 25th anniversary, and that's exactly what Virgin Atlantic has done.

“We're launching some of our lowest ever fares to London and what a way to kick off the year,” said Virgin Atlantic general manager – Australia, Luke Fisher.

“After a cracking 2008, we're envisaging that fares like these will keep our planes full and more passengers will see why we won 'Best long haul airline' at last year's British Travel Awards.”

The $1892 fares are valid for departures between now and March 29, 2009, and must be booked by January 31, 2009.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:03 PM   #605
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Problems for aviation in regional Queensland.
Their website also not seeming to take bookings

Mark.

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Receiver hopeful of saving MacAir
Brisbane Times
January 30, 2009 - 4:53PM
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news...818717862.html

The receiver appointed to Queensland regional airline MacAir is hopeful of returning it to full service.

MacAir last year secured a five-year Queensland Transport contract to operate subsidised air services to communities across the unprofitable northern, western and gulf regions.

The airline also operates commercial services across the state.

But in recent months, despite an increased subsidy from the government, passengers have been left stranded due to delays and cancellations of flights.

The situation came to a head last week when the government announced MacAir would vary its contract, effectively meaning a new open tender for the air services would be called after two months.

MacAir asked the government for a $7 million one-off ex-gratia payment, not linked to performance, which was refused.

Yesterday it went into voluntary administration and today it was put in the hands of receiver and manager Justin Walsh from Ernst & Young.

Mr Walsh said he was positive about the airline's future.

"The government and ourselves are working together very cooperatively in what is a reasonably difficult situation.

"I'm hopeful that in the next few days the planes will be back in the air and it will be business as usual, with a view to selling the business as a going concern."

He said he had already received calls from interested buyers.

Transport Minister John Mickel said the government would charter planes at a cost of $7,000 each to cover routes in the short term.

In the longer term, Queensland Transport would go back to the market and re-tender the air service contracts, he said.

Mr Mickel said one chartered flight operated on Friday and two more were due to fly over the weekend. The government would continue to provide alternative travel until receivers made a decision regarding the company's future.

But he said the government would not bail out the stricken airline.

MacAir chief executive Dale Webb said he sympathised with passengers.

"The financial drag has translated across to less than perfect service.

"We have had occasions where aircraft have not had spare parts available and we have grounded aircraft, leading to flight cancellations."

He said he was "certain" MacAir would return to service in the near future, but the problem of unprofitable routes would remain.

Mr Webb said he did not intend to point the blame at any party.

"We need a situation where somehow or other the revenue exceeds the cost.

"The routes are so long and thin they would never be profitable, but they are an essential part of infrastructure around Queensland."

He said MacAir was often known as the "scheduled Flying Doctor", as passengers used its services to get to medical treatment.

AAP
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Old February 1st, 2009, 05:38 AM   #606
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Flights replace MacAir - Help for bush towns
1 February 2009
Sunday Mail, The

CAIRNS-based regional airline Skytrans is coming to the rescue of passengers stranded by failed operator MacAir.

Skytrans chief executive officer Simon Wild said his company was working with key stakeholders and State Government officials to fill the void left by MacAir, which was placed in receivership on Friday.

The move put the future of flights to 32 regional towns, including Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Burketown and Mount Isa, in doubt.

Mr Wild said he hoped to resume many of MacAir's flights this week.

Skytrans, which employs 250 staff, services regional North Queensland and charters flights throughout Australia and the South Pacific.

Flights expected to resume soon include areas such as Kowanyama and Edward River in the state's north.

``We will be doing our best to assist in whatever way we practically can to alleviate the situation for passengers and get them to their destinations,'' Mr Wild said.

Schedules will be updated on the Skytrans website.

Meanwhile, stranded MacAir passengers said they had to wait at the Townsville Airport for several hours before being told the company had collapsed along with their flight plans.

Julia Creek resident Chris Rae said she was due to fly out of Townsville at 7.15am on Friday morning after undergoing eye surgery.

``It was booked well in advance,'' she said. ``I rang up the day before to confirm it was still the right time and I was told it had been changed to 10.15am and to get to the airport at 9.30am.''

Ms Rae said she arrived at the airport at 8am and the MacAir counter was empty.

A staff member later told Ms Rae all flights had been cancelled and passengers would have another update at noon.

McKinlay Shire Mayor Cr Paul Woodhouse organised a charter flight for the group and they eventually left Townsville about 4.30pm.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 01:56 PM   #607
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Emirates A380 en route to Sydney and Auckland

Emirates Airline notched up yet another first today as it operated the world's first A380 commercial service from Dubai to Australia and New Zealand.
United Arab Emirates: 37 minutes ago PRESS RELEASE



Taking off from its new home - Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport - EK 412 will arrive in Sydney and Auckland to a rousing welcome tomorrow. Emirates A380 will operate from Dubai to Sydney and across the Tasman to Auckland every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Today's A380 service also heralds a new era for flights Down Under as it adopted a host of green measures to maximise its environmental efficiency. The green best-practice demonstration flight employed new technology and multi-government co-operation to create ultra-efficient flexible routings and to minimise fuel burn.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 04:04 PM   #608
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Does EK have rights to carry passengers between Australia and New Zealand?
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:49 PM   #609
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Qantas says open to merger opportunities in Asia

MADRID, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said on Tuesday the airline was open to merger opportunities in Asia, but was not in any active talks.

"We are always looking at opportunities in Asia and the region," Joyce said at a meeting of the 'oneworld' airline alliance in Madrid.

"We are not actively involved in dialogue with anybody at this stage," the CEO said.

In December, Qantas and British Airways called off talks for a $6.4 billion merger after failing to agree on terms as the sector grapples with falling demand and volatile fuel prices.

Joyce said the Australian air carrier had not seen any further fall in long-haul demand since the sharp drop it registered last September and October.

"We saw the international business for Qantas take a hit because of a fall in premium traffic," Joyce said. "Since then we haven't seen any further deterioration, but we keep monitoring the volatile environment."

"We have plans, if things improve, to grow in the market again, but we also have plans, if things get worse, to take further action if need be," he added.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #610
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Etihad to start Abu Dhabi - Melbourne in March 2009

Old News, but has not been posted here yet.

Source: http://www.etihadairways.com/sites/e...wsListing=true

Etihad Airways will launch non-stop daily services from its Abu Dhabi home-base to Melbourne, Australia from March 2009.
Melbourne, which has a population of nearly four million people and is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria, will become the third destination in the country to be served by Etihad.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, said: “Since the successful launch of our services to Sydney and Brisbane, we have been particularly eager to spread our wings and expand our Australian operations even further. I hope that our new Melbourne flights will also prove to be a winner for both commercial and leisure traveller alike.”
“Etihad looks forward to opening up further trade and holiday-maker traffic business in both the UAE and Australia by creating direct links between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne.”
The UAE is Australia's second-largest commercial market in the Gulf region. During 2006-7, Australia's exports to the UAE increased 45 per cent to reach Dhs 8.5 billion, while imports from the UAE rose 162.3 per cent to Dhs 6 billion of which Dhs 5.3 billion was crude oil. In the same period, bilateral trade between the UAE and Australia exceeded Dhs 14.6 billion.
The Australian Embassy in Abu Dhabi estimates there are around nearly 15,000 Australian nationals and more than 300 Australian companies in the UAE. Around a third of all Middle East tourists to Australia are from the UAE.
The activities of Australian companies in the UAE include building and construction, financial and banking services, education and training services, sports and recreation, health services and oil field supplies.
Melbourne follows the introduction of highly successful Sydney and Brisbane route launches in 2007 by Etihad. Within its first year of Australian operations, the airline tripled flights to and from Australia and carried more than 100,000 passengers.
The airline announced recently that from October it will increase its Abu Dhabi to Sydney flights from seven to 11 per week.
Etihad Airways becomes the first international airline during the last two years to start flights into Melbourne.
His Excellency Jeremy Bruer, the Australian Ambassador to the UAE, said: “This announcement is great news for the UAE and Australia and will, I’m sure, be warmly welcomed by the business community and leisure travellers in both countries.
“Etihad’s flights to Sydney and Brisbane have proved incredibly popular and I have little doubt that the airline’s latest service between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne will prove equally successful. The airline should be congratulated for the significant contribution it has already made to strengthen ties between our two nations.”
Chris Woodruff, chief executive officer of Melbourne Airport, added: “Victoria has established itself as an attractive destination for business, trade and tourism. The new services represent the opportunities and growth potential that this vibrant state has to offer to world-class airlines such as Etihad Airways.”
The news follows the recent announcement by Etihad at the Farnborough International Airshow that the airline is to order 100 new Airbus and Boeing wide and narrow body aircraft at list prices of US $22 billion, for delivery between 2011 and 2020.
The airline remains on track to achieve its 2008 target of carrying six million passengers and increase to 50 the number of destinations on its growing global network by the end of the year.
Etihad Airways will operate a three cabin Airbus A340-600 to Melbourne. It is configured to carry 286 passengers, with 12 in first class, 30 in business class and 244 in economy class.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #611
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Does EK have rights to carry passengers between Australia and New Zealand?
Yes, To Auckland and Christchurch. Get to fly B777, A340-500 and now A380 between Oz and NZ.
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Old February 6th, 2009, 08:38 PM   #612
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Light aircraft lands in Australian harbour
6 February 2009
Agence France Presse

A light aircraft made an emergency landing in shallow water in an Australian harbour Friday and the pilot and five passengers waded safely to shore, authorities said.

The Piper Chieftain was carrying a group of IT technicians bound for a remote Aboriginal desert community to do computer maintenance when it ditched shortly after take-off from Darwin in northern Australia, police said.

"Apparently the pilot experienced some engine trouble on take-off and realised he wouldn't be able to make it back to the airport so he's made a decision to land it on the beach," spokesman Rob Farmer told reporters.

The pilot and his passengers -- who were travelling to the Maningrida community -- were unharmed and waded the 200 metres (yards) to shore, he said.

"It is unclear what caused the engine troubles that prompted the emergency landing but the pilot did a remarkable job," Farmer said.

Witness Mel Collins told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she saw the plane go down.

"I was just chilling out with my first cup of coffee for the morning and a plane came from the left... and really close to the water," she told ABC local radio.

"It was really close, and I was thinking what's going on with it, and then it touched down in the water."

The aircraft's owners and employer of the technicians on board, CSG Services, commended pilot Steve Bolle.

"At this point the cause of the incident remains unknown, however we would like to congratulate the pilot following all emergency landing and evacuation procedures and his very professional handling of the situation," CSG said in a statement.

Denis Mackenzie, the company's managing director, said Bolle realised one of the plane's engines had lost power and his response was "very cool".

"It was definitely really dramatic, it happened so soon after they took off, to go up and come down again like that," Mackenzie told local commercial radio.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #613
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Richard Branson takes delivery of V Australia 777
7 February 2009

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson cavorted with bikini-clad cabin crew attendants amid fake palm trees as he accepted a new Boeing 777 at the factory in Everett, Wash. But Branson also had harsh words for Boeing.

He said Virgin Blue Holdings' new budget service between Sydney, Australia, and the Los Angeles area, under the title V Australia, would have begun flights around Christmas, rather than later this month, if not for the Boeing machinists strike last year.

He called the delivery delay "catastrophic."

And he added that if union leaders and management "can't get their act together to avoid strikes, we're not going to come back here again."

Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx later told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "We are committed to doing everything we can in the future to satisfy our customers in the manner they deserve."

A two-month autumn strike by production workers paralyzed the company's commercial aircraft factories around Seattle.

The plane accepted Friday is the first of seven new 777-300ERs for V Australia.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 03:32 AM   #614
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Light aircraft lands in Australian harbour
6 February 2009
Agence France Presse

A light aircraft made an emergency landing in shallow water in an Australian harbour Friday and the pilot and five passengers waded safely to shore, authorities said.

The Piper Chieftain was carrying a group of IT technicians bound for a remote Aboriginal desert community to do computer maintenance when it ditched shortly after take-off from Darwin in northern Australia, police said.

"Apparently the pilot experienced some engine trouble on take-off and realised he wouldn't be able to make it back to the airport so he's made a decision to land it on the beach," spokesman Rob Farmer told reporters.

The pilot and his passengers -- who were travelling to the Maningrida community -- were unharmed and waded the 200 metres (yards) to shore, he said.

"It is unclear what caused the engine troubles that prompted the emergency landing but the pilot did a remarkable job," Farmer said.

Witness Mel Collins told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she saw the plane go down.

"I was just chilling out with my first cup of coffee for the morning and a plane came from the left... and really close to the water," she told ABC local radio.

"It was really close, and I was thinking what's going on with it, and then it touched down in the water."

The aircraft's owners and employer of the technicians on board, CSG Services, commended pilot Steve Bolle.

"At this point the cause of the incident remains unknown, however we would like to congratulate the pilot following all emergency landing and evacuation procedures and his very professional handling of the situation," CSG said in a statement.

Denis Mackenzie, the company's managing director, said Bolle realised one of the plane's engines had lost power and his response was "very cool".

"It was definitely really dramatic, it happened so soon after they took off, to go up and come down again like that," Mackenzie told local commercial radio.
I'm surprised he didn't get eaten by crocodiles or sharks. Darwin Harbour is a dangerous place. It's not safe to go to the beaches there either.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:13 AM   #615
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Qantas flight turns back after 'loud bang'


Australia's troubled national carrier Qantas has suffered another blow with a flight leaving Melbourne forced to turn back after experiencing "technical issues" shortly after take-off.

Flight QF25 from Melbourne to Los Angeles left Tullamarine at about 1pm today and was still climbing when passengers heard what they described as a loud bang.

"We were still going up when we heard this really loud bang and the plane started to level out," passenger Cormac Lally said.

"Not long after, the pilot came on the speaker and said we're going to turn back. It was pretty full-on."

The latest incident occurs in the same week Qantas was forced to sack an unqualified employee who had carried out critical maintenance work on its fleet of aircraft.

It also follows a horror 2008 in which the airline uncovered another fake engineer and had a variety of mid-air incidents.

A spokeswoman for Qantas this afternoon confirmed the plane was forced to return to Melbourne, but said there was "no safety issue and no emergency".

Mr Lally said a loudspeaker announcement after landing said the B747/400 was "unserviceable".

The spokeswoman said the airline was sending a replacement aircraft from Sydney.

"A replacement aircraft is due to leave shortly after midnight tonight, Melbourne time," the spokeswoman said.

Passengers from the flight have been put up in a hotel within Tullamarine Airport.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #616
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Qantas has really been troubled over the last 15 months...
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Old February 10th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #617
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What was the loud bang though?
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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #618
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VAustralia takes a chance on playful approach
13 February 2009
The Australian

GO into VAustralia's toilets and you'll find yourself listening to a bizarre swing version of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit or possibly a rendition of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven by a singer who sounds suspiciously like Dolly Parton.

Over at the business-class bar you perch under a dome -- apparently inspired by those on World War II bombers -- featuring mood lighting with a simulated Australian night sky and a Southern Cross centrepiece.

Then there are the business-class areas that can be isolated with double-thickness curtains to give the feeling of flying in your own personal cabin.

These were inspired by the days when crew rest areas were simply a curtained-off area at the back of economy class.

That isn't the case any more -- the pilots have a crew rest featuring seats, beds and in-flight entertainment in the roof at the front of the plane, while flight attendants have an eight-bed facility above the cabin at the rear -- but the idea still works, giving a retro feel to the cabin.

That's before you get to the wall coverings with hidden Australian icons, the Sydney Opera House-shaped salt and pepper shakers, the complimentary inflight VAustralia business-class thongs and funky cartoon safety video featuring Richard Branson.

Designers and company officials have obviously had a lot of fun putting this plane together and chief executive Brett Godfrey is the first to admit he was one of them: ``Basically we all had a go at it. The design consultants took away the ideas and came back with fabrics and things like that that we worked through, but they never led the discussion.

``The beauty of it was that it was fresh minds and not again the airline 101 way of doing it.

``I honestly think this is the next generation of airline -- it's just different. The zones, the segments -- in a way, it's a bit more retro.

``If you go back to the 1970s, you did have these sorts of play zones that airlines can no longer afford.''

There were differences of opinion along the way but the consensus as the airline's first Boeing 777-300ER winged its way to Australia this week was that the features would be crowd-pleasers. Godfrey admits he did not initially want a bar in the plane because he was worried it would take away revenue seats but was talked into it by major shareholder Richard Branson.

Sir Richard's Virgin Atlantic also was a design consultant on the project.

``This entryway costs about $1million an aeroplane to do, so it has to work,'' Godfrey says as he sits at the bar jotting down points for his arrival speech.

``We went through about 27 drawings then we got to about three mock-ups. This is a little bit more private.

``If people want to sit down and have a chat they don't necessarily want a crew member hovering around.''

VAustralia had already decided to go for a premium economy section before Qantas introduced it, but Godfrey admits to waiting for the A380 to be revealed to see what the opposition was doing.

It knew the class was working well on sister airline Virgin Atlantic and decided to put big emphasis on the cabin with 40 seats, compared with 33 in business.

Business-class is designed to compete with the latest available, featuring a fully horizontal flat bed with a 77in seat pitch in two-three-two configuration, with laptop power, a USB slot and reading light. The latest 12.1in screen, originally destined for the Boeing 787, connects with the plane-wide Panasonic on-demand entertainment system.

Other features include Riedel glassware, Narumi china, noise-cancelling headphones, pyjamas and doonas.

The Virgin boss says the smaller business class is less risky and makes it more exclusive than the giant business-class cabins on the A380.

``This just brings back to me the era of romance and exclusivity,'' he says.

Premium economy features 288 all-leather seats that are 20in wide, and have 38in of legroom and 9in recline. Premium economy passengers also have their own self-service bar.

Economy class features a three-three-three configuration with ergonomically designed seats that the airline says are the widest on the Pacific run. It has a 32in seat pitch and a 6in recline with a 10.6in seat-back screen for the on-demand videos, games and music.

``We were very focused on not going 10-abreast in the back -- at least not for now,'' Godfrey says. ``We thought that until we get into the market we would give people extra room.''

Godfrey hopes VAustralia's style will rub off Virgin Blue as it moves away from its low-cost roots to become ``a new-world airline'' with facilities such as lounges, in-flight entertainment and premium economy seating.

``We would never have spent $1 million on anything short-haul for Virgin Blue.

``So we've just had a bit of fun with this and taken a risk at a tough time.''

Steve Creedy flew to the US courtesy of Boeing and VAustralia.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #619
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VIRGIN BLUE UNDERTAKES PHASE TWO OF AIRCRAFT REDEPLOYMENT STRATEGY

FIVE BRAND NEW ROUTES TO BE INTRODUCED TO NETWORK

CANBERRA – HOBART ~ CANBERRA – TOWNSVILLE ~ TOWNSVILLE – GOLD COAST ~ TOWNSVILLE – CAIRNS ~ TOWNSVILLE - ROCKHAMPTON

Wednesday 11 February 2009: Virgin Blue Airlines has announced it will launch five brand new services between a number of ports on its network including daily return flights between Canberra – Hobart, Canberra – Townsville, Townsville-Gold Coast, Townsville –Rockhampton as well as Townsville - Cairns. The new services will all commence from Monday 6 April.

The new flights are a result of the company’s strategic review in 2008 which highlighted an opportunity for the airline to redeploy aircraft from under–performing markets onto other routes.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “Like all businesses, in these challenging times we need to keep our finger on the pulse and position our resources where they are most needed.

“The redeployment of some of our Embraer fleet to previously un-serviced routes is great news for these ports, in particular Townsville which has jagged four out of the five new services, because it means more convenient, regular and affordable direct air services which will provide plenty of choice for travellers.”

It is the first time since Virgin Blue launched in 2000 that the airline will offer flights between regional centres (Townsville – Cairns Townsville – Rockhampton and Townsville – Gold Coast). Fittingly, Townsville was also the very first regional centre the airline launched services to in March 2001 and will be the first port to be directly connected by Virgin Blue to not one, but three, other regional centres.

Special online SALE FARES for each of the routes go on sale from today until 17 February 2009, for travel from first day of nonstop service until 25 June:

* Canberra – Hobart $99* one-way on the internet
* Canberra – Townsville $149* one-way on the internet
* Townsville-Gold Coast $99* one-way on the internet
* Townsville-Cairns $69* one-way on the internet
* Townsville-Rockhampton $69* one-way on the internet


Virgin Blue will operate its executive-style EMBRAER E-Jets on all the new routes offering two by two seating configuration.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #620
marki
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==> now heres the bad news

----------------------
Virgin to shed up to 400 jobs
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/s...8-3102,00.html
Courier Mail, February 17, 2009 04:56pm

VIRGIN Blue will lose up to 400 jobs as the Queensland-based airline continues to battle the worsening effects of the global economic crisis.
The airline - which less than two weeks ago was advertising 1000 $1 airfares - told the Australian Stock Exchange the move was in response to a forecast reduction in domestic demand.

Virgin Blue will take up to five aircraft off its routes during 2009/2010 as it cuts capacity by eight percent.

The airline, which flagged capacity reductions at its annual general meeting last year, says the cuts will affect "up to 400 full-time equivalent positions" at Virgin.
It says the carrier hopes to minimise "headcount reduction" by transfer staffing staff to its international offshoot V Australia, as well as part-time work, job sharing, and leave without pay "amongst other contingencies under consideration".
Analysts have said previously the airline's international expansion will be challenging on the hotly contested Pacific route.
Qantas has been forced into a significant restructure of its flight schedule amid the continuing economic turmoil.
Low-cost offshoot Jetstar will replace the Flying Kangaroo throughout New Zealand's domestic market from June 10 and the schedules for China and India will be overhauled.
Chief executive Alan Joyce remained positive despite the changes.
``These changes are about adjusting our schedules to meet the needs of those markets alongside our own need to generate reasonable returns on our operations,'' Mr Joyce said in a statement.
Qantas will also cut its Melbourne-Shanghai and Sydney-Beijing flights, but the Sydney-Shanghai service will be increased from five flights per week to seven from March 31.

----------------------

Mark.
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